Posts by Sasso:
I am a sucker for all things auto-tuned but Schmoyoho really hit it out of the Park with this one. If you liked this video check out thier other work too.. it’s some of the funniest stuff out there. (Esp Muffins in Congress)
When it comes to making hard cider, this year I know what I’m doing… well I keep telling myself that anyway. Fermenting, much like any controlled experiment, is one part measuring, one part skill and one part luck (does that equal three parts fun?). The reality is, that for all of its mystique, fermenting/brewing are probably most similar to baking… lots of measuring and recipe following, and much like baking you can have the recipe right in front of you but it takes a couple of practice attempts to get it just right.
Also like baking with fermenting there are so many factors that are beyond your control…temperature, bacteria, light etc. You’re never going to get 100% optimal conditions for everything. All you can hope to do is get more things in the optimal column then not and then hope your end product comes out both tasting good and with the right alcohol content.
One thing you can control are your inputs; and in that category this year I think I have a lot of things set to go well. I have good equipment. My glassware is clean and ready to go. I have several 3-gallon carboys and many 1-gallon jugs, toppers for everything and all the pectic enzyme and yeast nutrients I will need for the season. I have learned about better kinds of yeast to use with cider and optimal ways to start the fermentation so that it occurs gradually like a bell curve. But the single most important input that I have going for me is the cider itself. I am using cider that I picked up directly from a local apple orchard. The cider that I was using from Whole Foods was good (for a beginner) and the hard cider that it produced was a solid ‘B’ but this fresh pressed cider almost looks like a different ingredient altogether (color clarity, taste etc).
Despite having all of that going for me, a couple things still have me a bit apprehensive. I have started three one gallon batches of hard-cider; and even though I started all three gallons at the exact same time using the exact same yeast and stored them all in the exact same conditions, they have all begun fermenting at different rates…and I have no clue why?
Unlike last year where I kept the fermentation process going as long as possible, in an effort to produce alcohol levels above 5%, this year I am not going to add more sugar at each rack; no flavorings or post sweetening either. All in my opinion a waste of time. (Fussy’s cider is going au-naturale?)
How is it going? Well I am off to a good start, I am two racks in and about to bottle. How did it come out? Well we should know by Thanksgiving, but even the preliminary non-aged taste is better than any batch I produced last year. That’s the hardest part about fermenting; you are basically running a controlled experiment with multiple variables but you don’t know how it all turns out for months. And in my case, you don’t get to try again until next year.
I have been noticing a trend as companies such as Bulliet and Knob Creek, better known for their award winning bourbons, have been launching their own product lines of Rye Whiskey. This overlooked spirit seems to be making a comeback. I always assumed it was bourbon’s harsher hillbilly cousin and simply avoided it. I admit I really didn’t know much more about it than, ” them good old boys were drinking it and whiskey” in Don Maclean’s famous song “American Pie”.
Spicier and less lean than bourbon, I was shocked to learn that Rye was once the most popular whiskey in the country prior to Prohibition.
(1)”Made from a mash of fermented rye grain—often with barley, —rye whiskey has a more assertive flavor than the rounder, sweeter bourbon, and its taste inspired the creation of some of the most regal cocktails in mixology, such as the Sazerac and the Manhattan. Ten years ago, only a small handful of rye whiskies existed, but thanks to a growing interest in bourbon and other whiskies, bartenders and curious drinkers are increasingly seeking out the lost flavor of rye.”
(2) “As bourbon gained popularity beyond the southern United States, bartenders increasingly substituted it for rye in cocktails like Whiskey Sours, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds, which were initially made only with rye. All other things being equal, the character of the cocktail will be drier with rye.”
I decided to dip my toe in the Rye pool instead of jumping straight in with Redemption High Rye Bourbon …. Clocking in at 38% rye grain, it is still technically a bourbon albeit one with a higher than normal percentage of rye. ( A half step on the Road to Rye if you will)
So, how does it stack up? It definitely kicks bourbon’s normal mellow edge up a notch. It is noticeably “spicy” but the sweetness that one typically associates with bourbon is still there in the aftertaste. I would recommend sipping it over ice and perhaps following it with a chaser, or mixing it with cola and drinking. I think it would also give any cocktails where you would normally add bourbon a little extra zip! I don’t think it will replace regular bourbon as my go to whiskey of choice, but Redemption High Rye is fantastic and it was a nice gateway liquor as I make my way along the road to Rye .
Redemption High-Rye Bourbon
Straight American Bourbon Whiskey
(3)”We think you can never have too much rye, so our High-Rye Bourbon mash-bill approaches the upper limit of allowable rye grain in a bourbon mash-bill. Bottled at 92 proof the dry spiciness of the rye balances the sweetness of the corn for a really wonderful sipping experience on its own or in classic cocktail recipes.
38.2% Premium Rye
1.8% Barley Malt
(1) http://www.imbibemagazine.com/The-Comeback-Kid-Rye-Whiskey (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rye_whiskey (3) http://www.redemptionrye.com/
Third Eye of the Tiger
“The third season begins at the crack of dawn in La Verne, CA, and finds “The Collector” in training. Dave Hester enjoys bidding, and bidding people up. Darrell Sheets shows up alone and quickly detects a find of his own. And Jarrod and Brandi start the new season with a system…but will it help them find zen?“- From A&E
As you know we at Shandeh are huge fans of Storage Wars and feel it’s still one of the best shows on TV, but as the seasons go on the show’s entire premise seems less and less plausible. You can certainly find countless articles arguing whether or not the show is “real” so I won’t belabor the minutia here. For those interested, here are a few articles on the topic:
I personally think Storage Wars is “reality TV” but as Bill Clinton might say it depends on what your idea of “reality” is. Instead of classic “reality TV” what happens, happens and we, the viewers, simply watch as the story unfolds (i.e. A&E’s shows like the First 48, Intervention, and Hoarders). It seems A&E is now experimenting with something of a high-bred reality show.
This new type of reality tv is a so-called high-bred in the sense that it’s not scripted, per se, but not completely off the cuff either. The central concepts are real; however there are multiple takes and some dialogue maybe pre-written. As in a director saying to the actors, “Here is the basic concept of this episode, here are a few lines, stay in character and just improv the rest.” **I’m looking at you Duck Dynasty. As a believer in Storage Wars, I am not yet ready to lump it in to this category but….I do mentally debate it from time to time.
The highly stylized promo alone should be a warning that the production crew on the show have the ability to make anything happen. The other tip off might be Barry. I mean seriously, who consistently has that many good lines? The guy is amazing week after week with zingers!
Anywho, I digress; back to the season premiere. All and all a solid season opener. The Barry schtick that I usually love was a bit too zany (rocky’esque) but it was a great outing. None of the lockers really yielded anything amazing and Barry made a little money on a fluke find with some Star Wars memorabilia. The producers are setting a back-story with Darryl and Brandon Sheets for an upcoming blowout. The normally good natured Darryl was unusually harsh with “Brando” . Brandi and Jarrod doubled their money and had some great lines.
All and all: solid …I’ll keep watching. What did you think?
Here at Shandeh we don’t really do heart warming… but I guess somewhere along the way between all the chicken wings, booze and wacky T.V. shows we might be mellowing a bit in our old age. This video is a little bit “If you build it, they will come” meets “You never know what life has in store for you“. Plus who can beat that fun pass, the mishbucha in me knows it’s a great value!
Before I get into reviewing this ‘bourbon dream product’ from the good folks at Jim Beam, I feel it’s necessary to give you a bit of back story and possibly introduce you to several new terms. Historically, when distillers would open their barrels after having let their spirits age for several years, they would notice that volume-wise there was less spirit in the barrel then when they started. Temperature changes cause pure water in the Bourbon to evaporate, so the barrels commonly contain much less liquid than when they were filled. Bourbon loses about three percent of its volume for each year of aging, but contains between 10 and 20 percent more alcohol.(2)
Two terms emerged:
The “Angels’ Share” is a term for the portion (share) of a wine or distilled spirit’s volume that is lost to evaporation during aging in oak barrels. The barrels are typically French or American oak.(1)
The “Devil’s Cut” is a term for the portion of the spirit that is lost, because it has actually soaked into the oak barrel itself.
Believe it or not this “devils cut” has historically been extremely important to the distilling industry as these used bourbon soaked barrels give several other spirits (notably rum, brandy and Scotch) their underlying smokey flavors.
I guess Jim Beam had enough of that nonsense and has somehow figured out a way to extract this “Devil’s Share” of the bourbon back out of the barrel walls to infuse and reuse it in their own bourbon. Reclaiming the share from the Devil and giving us an incense-smoke, vanilla flavored bourbon. (all bullshit aside, quite a trick)
“To create Jim Beam® Devil’s Cut™, an extraordinary new bourbon experience, we developed a proprietary process that actually pulls the rich whiskey trapped inside the barrels’ wood after they’re emptied. We hold this barrel-treated extract until it develops the proper balance of bourbon notes, then blend it with 6 year old bourbon and bottle at 90 proof. The result: a robust, premium bourbon with deep color, aroma and character.”
Be still my (barely) beating heart, did all my hopes and dreams just come true? Yes, I believe they did. Finally, America is once again at the forefront in the field of engineering. Enginering a dream Dorito Taco shell! USA, USA, USA!
From the Taco Bell website:
A Taco Supreme® made with premium seasoned beef, crisp lettuce, diced juicy red ripe tomatoes, real cheddar cheese, topped with cool reduced-fat sour cream, in a shell made from Nacho Cheese Doritos® Chips.
Yes, this is for real. The countdown for the arrival of the Taco Bell Doritos® Locos Tacos has begun. Try not to stare at the clock–time will pass quicker that way.
Now I just have to figure out if Taco Bell makes a vegetarian taco….( I still have six months left on my journey to veggie living… might need to make a pit stop tho’!)
I have to admit that when it comes to Movies My Wife Makes Me Watch l’m a pretty lucky guy and truthfully, I haven’t been subjected to very many MMWMMW lately. In fact, the ones I have been asked to watch have actually been pretty cool (i.e. Brides Maids and 50/50) so I was a little shocked when I recently asked my wife what movie had arrived from Netflix and the answer was Crazy Stupid Love. “Come on,” she said, “Its got Steve Carell who you love, and that girl you dig…oh, what’s her name? Zooey Dechanel!” That perked me up! “Sweet,” I thought, then replied, “Oh, ok, cool.” (BTW: Zooey Dechanel is not in this movie – but kudos to my wife and the con she pulled getting me to watch it.)
The other little tidbit that my wife failed to mention was that the entire reason she rented this movie is because it contained the one, the only, Ryan Gosling. If you are not familiar with Ryan Gosling you must be currently serving in Afghanistan or some other far flung movie-less, testosterone-filled wasteland because he is everywhere and is completely unavoidable.
Ryan Gosling is actually a great actor but It seems my wife and every other woman in the 20-40 age range is currently smitten with him. He has officially been dubbed a “Lady Boner” on Reddit and if you can find me a woman who doesn’t think he is “grrrreat” I will give you handfulls of gold bullion.
In fact, there are several meme websites out there such as “Hey Girl“ that take pictures from Ryan Goslings movies and repositions them to have him say funny and witty things … just for you. Or Apocalyptic Ryan Gosling, or my personal favorite Feminist Ryan Gosling that puts positive feminist statements over pictures of Ryan Gosling. (Which BTW, for those of you out there who sit around and wonder “What do women really want …?” I think this may be it !)
But I digress what is Crazy Stupid Love actually about? (Warning Contains Spoliers)
In nutshell CSL follows Steve Carell as Cal Weaver a mild-mannered middle-aged nice guy who’s life is pleasant, albeit in something of a rut, who is shocked when his wife announces seemingly out of the blue that she has cheated on him and wants a divorce. This causes Cal to slip deeper into his middle-aged fugue, falling low enough to hit rock bottom, realizing the error of his ways cleaning himself up. He then spends the rest of the movie fighting to win his wife back because, “She is the love of his life and always has been.”
If this sounds kinda familiar it’s because it is essentially the same role Steve Carrel plays in every movie you have ever seen him in (particularly true of his Dan from Dan in Real Life). So, how does Mr. Gosling fit into this plot? Well, after Cal finds out his wife is cheating he moves out and finds himself drinking in a bar where he nightly makes an ass out of himself. Gosling is the resident bar lothario, Jacob Palmer, who has almost magical abilities to get women out of their panties; decides to take Cal under his wing and teach him the ways of picking up women. He cleans Cal up (gets him a good haircut, a suit that actually fits, and shows him the art of seduction through conversation) and eventually it works. Cal starts picking up women right and left. Here is where the hilarity ensues. Cal ends up sowing his oats with 9+ women including, unbeknownst-to-him, his son’s English teacher; and is on his way to becoming something of peer to Jacob, when he realizes he has forgiven his wife and is really still in love with her.
Overall the movie is “feh-to-meh-schmeh”. The main selling point of this movie to women everywhere appears to be a shirtless airbrushed Ryan Gosling playing a bad boy where normally he is something of a misunderstood dreamer. It’s like Ken Barbie is wearing a new outfit…a motorcycle outfit: it’s still Ken, but he is baaaaad!
I have to admit I did have one knee-slapping laugh when Palmer explains to his love interest (who happens to be be Cal’s previously unseen grown daughter Hannah (Emma Stone) …. What are the odds? 0.0.0) what his best “Romantic Move” is; his deal-clincher if-you-will. That move? Is brilliant! He manages to persuade women to come back to his GQ apartment and then casually mentions the movie Dirty Dancing. This results in him turning on the film’s soundtrack and recreating the dance move whereby “Baby” does a ballet swan dive into Patrick Swazey’s sculpted and capable arms, then lowers her tenderly into a kiss. This is in fact what every woman who was 11 years of age+ in the 80′s has always wanted. It’s genius made me laugh my ass off! So big props to the writer who snuck that in. In the end Cal wins back his wife by helping out his maladjusted lovelorn son. It works out smurfingly with Palmer finding true love with Cal’s daughter Hannah and Cal and his wife walking off into continued bliss. Lovely.
Back to Movies My Wife Make Me Watch
This just goes to show you, you really can’t judge a book by its cover … especially in Maine. For whatever reason this made me laugh harder than I have in a while.
While this video is obviously staged and I can only imagine is some sort of homage to Napoleon Dynamite; it reminds me a bit of Marat Sade, ( Which is a reference that I realize is going to be a little beyond most Shadeh readers who are here looking for updates on Barry Weiss.. but… essentially a play with in a play. Even if everything in the video is staged to remind us of Napoleon Dynamite; it’s still the dancers real house and grandma and weird picture hanging on the door. Plus they have obviously spent hours learning how to dance around with swords. Enjoy it on whatever level you want because it will put a smile on your face.